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Editor’s Note: This post was originally posted on Preparetoserve.com
Here are 12 tips to help LDS Missionaries become fluent in their mission language.
Learning your mission language can be difficult, but it’s definitely possible. I truly believe that everyone called on a foreign-language mission has the capacity to master their mission language in the mission field. While all have the capacity there are usually a few missionaries who never master their mission language.
I believe that by implementing these tips and tricks, LDS missionaries will be able to confidently learn their mission language. It may be a good idea to try each of these ideas for few days and then focus on whatever methods work best for you.
1) Only speak in your mission language.
If you allow yourself to forget your native tongue and only speak your mission language, you will learn quickly. Speaking your mission language exclusively will help you start to think in your mission language and actively learn new vocabulary.
2) Pray for the Gift of Tongues.
The Gift of Tongues is real. With God anything is possible. I believe the Gift of Tongues may be manifest in many ways in the lives of Mormon Missionaries. As with many spiritual gifts, I believe the Gift of Tongues is predicated upon our faith in God, purity and willingness to act.
3) Write down new vocabulary and phrases.
When you are talking with someone and you hear a word you don’t recognize, jot it down. When you get back to your missionary apartment in the evening, you can look up the words you didn’t understand. You may also look up new words and phrases during your language study time.
4) Read The Book of Mormon out loud in your mission language.
I’ve heard of a group of missionaries who were promised by a General Authority that if they would read the entire Book of Mormon out loud in their mission language, in a certain period of time, that they would become fluent in their mission language. While that promise may have been directed at those present, I believe reading The Book of Mormon to be one of the best ways to learn to read in your foreign language and discuss the Gospel with investigators on your mission.
5) Memorize a few hymns in your mission language.
The process of memorizing words to your favorite hymns will help you to learn the meaning of words more deeply. It will also give you something to sing in your mission language when you are in the field and after your mission (I still sing some hymns in Spanish that I learned on my mission). Besides improving your language ability, memorizing a hymn will help you find comfort on your mission. A memorized song can be like a faithful friend you can constantly call on.
6) Ask natives for help.
Almost all native speakers will be delighted to help you to learn their language. Natives may be your most patient and helpful teachers. Besides helping you learn new vocabulary, native speakers can help you refine your accent and learn phrases unique to your area. Asking for help with your language-learning endeavors can even be an effective way to start a conversation with a stranger on the street.
7) Pray in your mission language.
If you make it a habit to have a prayer in your heart in your mission language, you will become fluent more quickly. Since we should have a prayer always in our hearts- what better way to learn a language than to have a prayer in your mission language always in your heart and mind?
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